Over Rs 280 cr lost as strike at Odisha coalfields continues

Bhubaneswar: Coal production and supply from Talcher Coalfields of Mahanadi Coal Fields Limited (MCL) remained paralysed for the 10th consecutive day on Friday, resulting in over Rs 280 crore loss to the company and the exchequers of the state and the Centre.

The agitation by the locals following the Bharatpur Open Cast Project (OCP) accident has led to coal shortage, which has also badly affected power generation at NTPC’s 3,000 MW Kaniha power plant and the 460 MW Talcher Thermal Power Station in the state.

Talcher Coalfields, which produces an average of 2.1 lakh tonne coal per day during the rainy season, came to a grinding halt from the evening of July 24.

At least four persons were feared dead and nine were injured following a strata collapse that triggered a massive landslide in the mine on the night of July 23.

The locals are on strike demanding a safety inspection of the entire Talcher Coalfields along with a high-level investigation into the incident of strata failure and adequate compensation to the deceased persons’ families.

“The current losses to the company following the shut down from July 24 till date is a coal production loss of 16.84 lakh tonnes valuing Rs 170.96 crore, 19.32 lakh tonnes of despatch, 16.5 lakh cubic metre of over burden, and a loss of Rs 110.66 crore to the state and central exchequers,” said an MCL statement.

It said the closure of the mines has not only incurred huge losses to the company, it has also affected the income of the 15,000 workers of MCL, 12,000 contractual workers, 10,000 truck drivers and khalasis of private trucks plying in Talcher Coalfields besides the business interest of around 5,000 medium and small businessmen.

The entire blockade has thus affected the earnings of around more than 40,000 families of Talcher for which the responsibility lies on the people behind the blockade, it added.

The strike at MCL Talcher Coalfields has led to very critical coal condition at NTPC’s Kaniha power plant and the 460 MW NTPC Talcher Thermal Power Station, said a NTPC statement on Friday.

At the NTPC Kaniha plant, three of its 500 MW units have already been shut down due to acute shortage of coal while out of 6 units, only one is running at NTPC Talcher Thermal Plant, the statement said.

Power generation at Kaniha plant is at 900 MW against the capacity of 3,000 MW due to the grave coal crisis.

“The prevailing situation may result in acute shortage in power supply to Odisha as well as other states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and the North East states as well as to the states of southern parts of the country,” it said.

The Kaniha plant requires 58,000 MT coal per day to run all its six units on full load whereas the Talcher Thermal plant requires 9,000 MT coal on a daily basis.